I'm actually somewhat surprised that no one (as far as I know) has done a Fire Emblem/Pokémon Conquest crossover, considering that they are of the same genre (turn-based strategy role playing game), and both Pokémon and Fire Emblem are Nintendo franchises; I would think that there would be some overlap in interest. I guess Pokémon Conquest is just a frustratingly underappreciated game. Alas.
The Great Game of Pokémari
"What? Who's there?"
"Do not be alarmed. I am the Divine Dragon, Naga."
"Naga? It's the middle of the night! Why are you here? Has something gone wrong? Has Grima already—?"
"No, Lucina. I bear much better news. A gate between our world and an Outrealm has opened up, and the Divine Dragon of that Outrealm has invited you to visit its world."
"…Me? Now? We're so close to stopping Grima! I must not be distracted at this point by some frivolous excursion!"
"As you noted, it is the middle of the night. You should be back before anyone else wakes. Besides, distraction is the very reason for this visit to this Outrealm. You are focusing so much on training to defeat Grima that you have lost sight of your ultimate goal: a world without fear. According to the Divine Dragon of this Outrealm, this place is a land of where peace and war coexist. You need to take some time to experience the peace you look forward to, if only for a night."
"What do you mean, peace and war coexist? How is that any better?"
"I can show you."
I felt myself being transported across dimensions before popping out somewhere bright and sunny. I suppose that made sense for a supposedly peaceful world.
This world was extraordinarily green, a grassy land dotted with luscious trees. Near the horizon, the land gave way to a cliff that tumbled into a deep blue ocean. A light breeze blew past me, cool and refreshing, though it did not penetrate my armor.
"Naga?" I asked tentatively.
"No, Princess Lucina," I heard an unfamiliar voice behind me say, "Naga has remained in your world." I whipped around quickly, reaching for my sword, when an enormous animal of some sort leaped out from behind a tree. It was vaguely reminiscent of a transformed manakete, but quadrupedal and wingless. It spoke. "I am Arceus, the Creator of Ransei. I shall return you to your world when it comes time, but for the moment, I direct you towards Chrysalia Castle." It gestured behind it, towards a large purple building that was enclosed by an extensive wall. "Perhaps there you will find the peace you long for. Do not dally too long—time continues to flow in your world, and Naga has told me that you must return before dawn. When you are finished here, return here outside the castle town, and I shall transport you back to your world."
Arceus bowed low to me before leaping off into the fields. I stared for a moment after it before taking its advice and walking up to the castle town gates.
They were open, so I strode right in, into a bustling castle town. A garden path led straight forwards, under a strange, floating garden with a waterfall that flowed calmly into the peaceful pond below.
There were plenty of people as well, running back and forth along the streets that made up this castle town—and a lot of them had these strange pets with them. Many were small and fit on a shoulder or were perched atop their owners' head, but a few were enormous and towered over their owner. They also took on a variety of shapes—from funny-looking weasels and otters to birds of all sizes to snakes to lions to pinecones. What were these creatures?
But what I could see was how much everyone seemed to care for these pets. People were brushing their fur or polishing their scales, or feeding them some sort of bread-like snack, or even playing jump rope with an odd vine-like appendage that one of the snakes-with-feet had. There was a young couple who was snuggling under a tree as their pets did the same—even though one was an enormous metal-plated biped and the other was a human-sized mantis.
After gawking at the scene for a moment, I shook my head. I suppose this was, in fact, peaceful. No one here seemed to be worrying about war or fearing for their lives, though I still spotted a few people in armor. (Thank the gods for that; otherwise my own armor would have marked me immediately as threatening.) Indeed, there were unwatched children prancing around, often with cute little rodents or miniature pigeons following or leading them. I almost laughed at the silliness of it—what was this world, where it was peaceful enough for even young children to be let loose!
But Arceus had pointed me towards the castle, not the castle town. I strode forward along the main path—it evidently acted as the town's main road, but it somehow remained as quaint as a garden path.
I passed by stalls of merchants selling anything from the bread snacks I had seen the townspeople feed to their pets to musical instruments of all sorts (many of which I had never seen before) to fashion accessories like scarves and fans. They were much like the stalls of Ylisstol I had grown up around—but, I noticed, there were no weapon stalls. Sure, there might have been a few swords in an antique shop or war fans scattered among the more fashionable ones, and there was even a shop that sold protective armor, but there did not seem to be much demand for weaponry.
I passed by the marketplace, coming to the large pond in the middle of the town. I could see more children playing in it, and more of those odd creatures swimming in and around the pond. I smiled cordially back to a child who waved excitedly at me.
I walked across the bridge and under the weird sky garden that hung in the air above it. Arriving at the other side, I came to a large statue of a shelled bug-like creature that guarded the castle itself.
The castle was grand, in its own way. It was very large, centered around a large pagoda-like structure, but as I approached it, it started to look more and more… eccentric. The top level of the pagoda resembled a face that was painted white, with a large purple roof as its hat. Its expression was comically melodramatic for the peaceful garden-like atmosphere that surrounded it.
I stood there for a moment, appreciating the absurdity of the design for a moment before going up to the castle doors. I hesitated for a moment before decisively knocking three times.
The doors opened a few moments later to what was apparently a servant, judging by his clothing. "Hello, milady. May I help you?"
And suddenly I realized that I didn't really know what I was doing here. Investigating how peaceful this country was? Saying that outright would be awkward, to say the least.
I realized that the servant was still waiting for a response. "I am…" I said slowly, stalling for time. "My name is Lucina. …Uh, I um… come from… uh, Ylisse, which is… a place that is…"
I was saved from my ineloquent stuttering by a large man who came skipping down the hall towards us. It struck me suddenly that, with his face painted white and with his tall cylindrical hat, he resembled the castle itself. He turned to me. "Oh, we have a visitor! Are you here to play Pokémari with me? Oh, what joy! Forretress, don't you agree?" He turned behind him, where a shelled creature—the kind depicted in the statue right outside the castle—bounced up and down jollily in agreement.
"You said your name was Lucina? Nice to meet you, Lucina! I'm Yoshimoto!" He grabbed my hand. "Come on, let's go play Pokémari!"
He dragged me by the hand down the halls as the servant behind me just sighed and shut the castle doors. Forretress bounced along behind us.
We ran through the halls, twisting and turning and nearly knocking down several people in our way. Yoshimoto shouted out a few apologies, but just kept running down the halls.
Finally, we came upon an open playing field. It was a lovely garden, one with a flat, rocky spread of land in the middle, flanked on either side by a pond with a deer chaser fountain at the edge of each pond. A few yellow balls were scattered around the rocky area, and presently, Yoshimoto picked one up and cleared the others to the side.
"Come over here, Lucina," he said. "You know how to play, right?"
I shook my head.
"Oh, good!" Yoshimoto's face lit up in excitement. "I get to introduce you to this wonderful game! Pokémari is a game in which you try to keep the ball up in the air for as long as possible, but you cannot use your hands. It's a simple enough concept, but it's so much fun!"
"Are we all trying to work together, or are we trying to make the other person drop the ball?" I asked.
"We all work together, certainly. It's not a game about winning or losing; it's just about having fun!" He suddenly looked at me. "How odd. Are you not a Warrior? You certainly are dressed like one, but I don't see any partner Pokémon with you."
I stared blankly at him. "…Pokémon?" I repeated.
Yoshimoto just barreled on, ignoring my question. "If you don't have a partner Pokémon, then we have to get someone else; three players are barely sufficient to play—I know; I'll go get Uncle Sessai! Stay right here, Lucina."
With that, he ran off back into the castle, coming out but moments later, dragging a monk by the arm. Another odd bug creature was running along with them. "Uncle Sessai, Larvesta, let's go play Pokémari! We finally have a new player to join us!"
"Lord Yoshimoto," the monk replied, even as Yoshimoto positioned him in the middle of the rocky clearing next to me. "You remember that Lord Kenshin was planning to invade us soon, right?"
"Oh, really?" Yoshimoto asked. "That'll put a damper in our game if they arrive in the middle of it. But we can worry about that later, when they come! And maybe they can all join in, too!"
I frowned. Invade? What did that mean? Yoshimoto didn't seem too worried about this invasion, but given his slightly… eccentric personality, that didn't seem to mean much.
Sessai turned to me. "Hello, visitor. I apologize for Lord Yoshimoto's insistence that we play Pokémari. He may be the Warlord of Chrysalia—and indeed, though he may not seem it, he is very adept at defending this castle—but aside from his battle skills, he is very much still a child at heart."
I smiled back. "It's perfectly fine. I'm actually interested in seeing what this game is like." Still, I was concerned with Yoshimoto's title—he was a warlord? It seemed that this world wasn't all peace, after all. But then, Naga had warned me that peace coexisted with war here.
Yoshimoto suddenly called out, "I'm going to kick the ball to you, now, Lucina! Kick it over to Uncle Sessai or one of our Pokémon!"
There was that word again—it must refer to those strange creatures. I had only enough time to process that though before I saw the yellow ball flying over towards me, and I raised my knee, prepared. I struck at it, and it went flying forwards—right into the pond behind Yoshimoto. It splashed Yoshimoto a little bit, but he raised one of his fans that he held, effectively blocking the water.
"Oh dear!" I cried. "Yoshimoto, I'm so sorry!"
"It's fine, Lucina," he comforted. "You're still learning the game." He leaned over the pond, and grabbed the Pokémari ball, which was floating on the water now. He kicked it to the side. "We have other ones that are still dry, of course! Let us continue!"
Grabbing another ball from the ground, he kicked it towards his Pokémon, who bounced it twice before passing it off to me. I managed to redirect the ball to Sessai, who continued the pass back to his Pokémon, who promptly dropped it.
"That was three successful passes!" Yoshimoto announced. "Let's see if we can't get to ten with Lucina today!"
I smiled. I suppose this wasn't a bad game.
But before we could continue, a commanding voice rang out behind me. "Lord Yoshimoto."
Everyone turned towards the voice, and I saw a hooded man enter the courtyard. He was followed by a green human-shaped Pokémon, followed by several other people and their Pokémon.
"Oh, Lord Kenshin!" Yoshimoto said. "How wonderful! Would you like to join us in our game of Pokémari? I have a visitor today, Lucina, who is learning how!"
The hooded man looked towards me distractedly. "Hello, Lucina." He turned back to Yoshimoto. "But alas, I have not come to join you in playing Pokémari. I have come to do battle with you for possession of this castle. Would you please call the rest of your army?"
"Fine," Yoshimoto said, slightly dejected. "Uncle Sessai, could you round everyone up? Lucina, just move to the side of the battlefield. We'll continue our Pokémari game when we're done."
I was about to say that I could fight, too, and help defend this castle, but something about the way he said that sentence gave me pause. After all, this Lord Kenshin was being pleasant, and even his tone of voice while issuing his challenge was nonchalant, as though he were just offering to share a cup of tea. …Was this world so far entrenched in war that battles were just uneventful daily occurrences? Or were battles a little different here? After all, I had seen no weapons shops in the castle town. Perhaps I would just wait and see.
Slightly belatedly, I realized that I had instinctively reached for Falchion's grip, and quickly, I let my hand drop. Had anyone else noticed that? Shaking my head, I stepped off the field, taking a seat on a bench against the castle walls.
Kenshin and the other people and Pokémon in his army filed into the garden and set themselves up on one end of the Pokémari field. Yoshimoto and his Pokémon, meanwhile, moved towards the other end. Sessai presently returned with four other people and their Pokémon.
…Their Pokémon. These cute little creatures were their weapons, weren't they? That's why they all had armor on for protection, but no weapons. This was not some big verbal argument, as I had perhaps foolishly hoped; it was a full-out battle, same as in my world. Just replace swords and tomes with fuzzy bugs and living ice-blue teddy bears.
I started to feel a little horrified—these cute little things were going to be badly injured! But the battle was already starting, and I did not want to interfere.
The two armies approached each other in the middle of the battlefield, skirting around or knocking away the Pokémari balls still lay scattered across the field. As the armies arrived in the middle of the Pokémari field, chaos erupted.
The first strike came from a small brown mole-like Pokémon, who burrowed into the ground at incredible speeds, flinging up dirt and sand in all directions. It popped up a few moments later, slamming into a caterpillar-like Pokémon.
The caterpillar-like Pokémon, meanwhile, shot out some sort of sticky string from its mouth, covering the mole. Even more surprising was that the mole's teammate, the blue teddy bear, shot a jet of ice out at the caterpillar, freezing part of its body in a solid block of ice.
Sessai's Pokémon suddenly burst into flames, making me jump in surprise. What had just happened? But the bug, still flaming, jumped up, unharmed. Apparently, it had set itself aflame and was unaffected by the heat. Instead, it rolled into the blue teddy bear, breaking the bear's concentration on attacking the caterpillar.
A giant yellow spider suddenly let loose a great crackle of electricity, hitting everything around it, friend and foe alike. A Pokémari ball was also hit by a bolt of electricity, causing it to go flying across the battlefield, hitting Kenshin's swordsman-like Pokémon in the head. It recoiled slightly before turning back and firing a blade of purple light back at the giant electric spider.
The owners of the Pokémon, meanwhile, were also following their Pokémon, avoiding or swatting away the haphazardly shot beams of ice or flying Pokémari balls. They shouted out orders and yelled out warnings, practically ignoring the chaotic attacks.
Suddenly, one woman screamed out in surprise. "Chimecho, are you all right? …I suppose I must retreat. My apologies, Lord Kenshin." She turned around, and, cradling an unconscious chime-like Pokémon, ran off the battlefield, towards me.
"Hello," the woman said to me cordially. Oddly enough, she didn't seem to too be concerned over her Pokémon, even though it had been knocked unconscious from battle. She sat down on the bench next to me, still cradling the chime Pokémon, stroking its now-tarnished metal hide from time to time.
"Hello, madam," I said back, slightly awkwardly. "Um, I'm Lucina."
"Lucina? What a pretty name. My name is Sen. Pleased to meet you." She extended her hand, and I shook it.
"Lucina," she continued, "have you ever watched a full-out Pokémon battle like this before? I would imagine not, if you're from Chrysalia. The battlefield in this kingdom is this Pokémari field, in the middle of the castle, far away from the eyes of the common citizen, unlike in Illusio, where we're from."
I furrowed my brow. Wasn't this battle over possession of the castle—over possession of the kingdom? How would the common citizen not observe any fighting whatsoever?
Sen looked at my face and said, "You look confused. Did I say something wrong?"
"Oh, no, it's not that. It's just that…" I hesitated. "Well, I'm not from around here."
She raised her eyebrows. "You're just a visitor in Chrysalia? What kingdom do you hail from, then?"
"The Halidom of Ylisse," I responded without thinking.
"Ylisse?" Sen repeated. "There are only seventeen kingdoms here in the Ransei Region, and Ylisse is not one of them."
Seventeen kingdoms, and all of them were at war with each other? This world must have been a lot more chaotic than it seemed. "Oh, I'm not from Ransei; I'm from quite far away… I have observed and even participated in many battles, but none quite like this one. For one, I had never seen a Pokémon until I stepped foot here."
"Never seen a Pokémon?" Sen blinked several times, as if having difficulty processing the idea. "…Then how…? Are your battles—are they directly between people, with weapon like swords and lances?" When I nodded, she gasped. "How horrible! Do people die from battle? How lucky you must be to have survived! I could never imagine such a kingdom. From what I know of history, we used to have wars with direct combat like that, but there have been several reforms, and battles have simplified into the amazing sport you see today." She swept her hand out towards the battlefield, where a few more people were coaxing their unconscious Pokémon out of the way of the remaining warriors.
"This is a sport?" I asked. "But…" I gestured towards the chime Pokémon in her lap. "Your Pokémon looks really injured! Isn't that dangerous?"
Sen gave a weak laugh. "You really haven't seen a Pokémon before, have you? Pokémon recover extremely rapidly. It'll probably just be maybe half an hour before Chimecho here will be as good as new, if I don't do anything. And there are certainly restorative items and cures that would speed up the recovery, though Lady Aya holds our supply and I dare not bother her now. Besides, the Pokémon find the sport just as enjoyable as we Warriors do, whether or not they become unconscious."
"Oh," I said. "So war is just a sport, with no serious injuries? That explains why Yoshimoto is just as concerned with Pokémari as he is with this war; they're both just sports, in his mind. But what's this whole deal about possession of the castle?"
"Well, we need to have something at stake, right?" Sen said. "Castles ownership often transfers between people because of this, but we all have our 'home' castles, and Warlords generally have some power over their home kingdom, whether or not they have possession of the castle. Otherwise, the common citizens would have lives that fluctuate far too much."
"This is such an interesting place," I said quietly. "It's such a shame that my own home is in a state of war, and it's nothing like this."
Sen gave a brief pause before saying, "Well, couldn't you just stay here? You clearly love it here, and your home sounds horrifying to me. I'm sure you could find a Pokémon to link with, and you could become a Warrior here. Each castle can hold up to six active Warriors at a time, but there are also groups of wandering Warriors, and there might even be a few castles with open positions."
I gave a start. "Stay here?" …The idea was much more tempting that I would have liked to admit.
Before I could say anything in response, I heard Yoshimoto's voice ring out. "Hey! We won! The castle's still mine! …Now will you guys play Pokémari with me?"
"We have to let the Pokémon heal first, at least," Kenshin pointed out. He extended his hand towards Yoshimoto. "Still, Lord Yoshimoto, it was a good battle, and I enjoyed myself greatly. Although you focus on Pokémari, you are an incredibly capable battler. I look forward to our next match."
"And I look forward to playing Pokémari with you," Yoshimoto responded, shaking Kenshin's hand. "And I guess to do battle with you, as well, next time, but won't you please play Pokémari with me now once you have recovered from the battle?"
Kenshin paused before saying, "Very well. It is good to relax from such a strenuous battle."
"Hooray!" Yoshimoto exclaimed. "Come on, Uncle Sessai and everyone! We have a bunch of people to play Pokémari with! Lucina, do you want to join in, too? We can make an utterly gigantic game of Pokémari, with thirteen humans and twelve Pokémon! Oh, what joy!"
Sen smiled at me. "I guess we're going to go play Pokémari now? Well, Lucina, do think about staying in Ransei if you love it so much." She tenderly lifted up Chimecho and walked over to one of the warriors in Kenshin's army (presumably Lady Aya) who was handing out some sort of revival medicine to the injured Pokémon.
I wandered over towards them. Gods above, for being enemies, they really were quite amicable towards each other, though I guess "enemies" did not mean nearly the same thing in this world as it did in mine. In this world, it referred to the sort of rivalry-camaraderie that I could only hope for in my world.
My world… it was not so far away. I thought about what Sen suggested for a moment longer, but it was obvious what I must do. Although it would be a giant burden lifted from my shoulders, I certainly couldn't keep myself here; I couldn't abandon my father and the new timeline I was in, when we were so close to defeating Grima once and for all. I would have to return.
And soon. How long had I been in this world? If I didn't get back before people started to wake up, I might cause a scene.
I approached the small crowd of Warriors and located Yoshimoto. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "I'm sorry, Lord Yoshimoto, but I must be off now, before the game starts. I had a wonderful time here, but I must return home now, since my home is in danger."
"Oh dear, already?" he asked, jumping in surprise. "Not even another ten or fifteen minutes?"
"I apologize, but I really can't." Glancing around the field, I suddenly had an idea. "Um, Lord Yoshimoto, can I ask a favor of you? I would love to bring back the game of Pokémari to my home kingdom. It is such a wonderful little sport, one so involved and yet so peaceful. If you don't mind, I would like to request that you bestow one of these balls to me so that I may spread knowledge of this game."
Yoshimoto's sad face lit up in excitement. "Why, of course! To spread the joy of Pokémari as far I can—that is my ultimate goal in life!" He looked around the battlefield for a Pokémari ball that was in good condition. He found one and handed it to me with a bow. "Here you go, Lucina. I hope your home may find peace and joy with this Pokémari ball."
I returned the bow and thanked him. I turned to leave the battlefield, but I heard my name being called out. Turning back around, I saw Sen approaching me.
"So you've decided to leave here and return to your home, this Halidom of Ylisse? Well, I can only wish you the best of luck fighting your war. I sincerely hope your realm returns to peace quickly."
"Thank you, Sen," I responded. "But at least I'm bringing back a memento from Chrysalia and Ransei: this Pokémari ball. A reminder that war will give way to peace, that battles will settle down into much more civilized sports." I bowed. "I bid you farewell."
With that, I turned around and exited the castle.
"Lucina! Where are you?"
"I'm right here, Father."
"Wh—what? I've been looking for you all over camp! Frederick woke me up when he realized that you were gone, an hour before dawn. Where were you?"
"…It's a long story."
"It's still barely after dawn. We have time, thanks to your disappearance act. You left the entire camp in chaos, and you've ruined my night's sleep. We can't afford to be distracted now, of all times. What's your excuse?"
"Uh, well, it involves Naga summoning me to an Outrealm… Actually, why don't I try teaching you a ball game, first? It's called Pokémari."
"Wait, what? …Lucina, let go of my arm! Where are you taking me?"
"Trust me, Father. Everything will make sense after this little game."
Author's note: As with my other Pokémon Conquest crossover fanfics, this fanfic is not based on a historical event. Sessai is, in fact, Yoshimoto's uncle (and also one of three non-Warlord Warriors who get speaking roles in the main story; the other two are also in my Pokémon Conquest/Pokémon Colosseum crossover, A New Life). Sen, Kanetsugu's wife, appears here as well (you may recognize her from my other Pokémon Conquest fic, Red Paper Fan). …But yeah, that's about it. This fic is far from the most historically-based fic I've done. But hey, this is just a story, historically factual or not, right?
Published June 15, 2014